The season that wouldn’t end kept going until the Oakland A’s finally put away the Mariners 7-5 Saturday night at Safeco (box score) on a two-run homer by SS Marcus Semien in the 13th inning. Innings-wise, it was Seattle’s longest game this season The Mariners (75-86) have lost nine of 10 games.
With the Mariners in position to win, leading 5-4 in the ninth, closer Tom Wilhelmsen came on to put on the first two runners with a walk and a hit batter. He followed that with a wild pitch that moved the runners up, setting the table for Houston’s Brett Lawrie to tie with a sacrifice fly to left.
Just when it looked like he may have done enough to warrant a serious look for the 2016 rotation, LHP Roenis Elias ended with a dud. His final start included seven hits, three walks and four runs over two innings. Elias gave up a three-run homer in the first. In the third, he gave up a single and two walks to the first three batters he faced, leading to him being pulled with the bases loaded. The performance was enough to raise Elias’s ERA to 4.14 – making his season look a lot worse than it had an hour earlier (3.89).
LHP Tony Zych had another strong outing in relief of Elias. The Seattle bullpen fired off six innings of scoreless relief before Wilhelmsen blew a save opportunity for the second time this season.
2B Robinson Cano gave the Mariners life with a three-run homer in the third inning, after Seattle had fallen in a 3-0 hole. SS Ketel Marte gave the Mariners their first lead with an RBI single in the sixth. Then the bats went quiet for seven innings, with Oakland switch-pitcher Pat Venditte shutting down all nine hitters he faced in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings. DH Nelson Cruz didn’t get a shot at Venditte, as a groin injury forced him out of the game in the 12th.
“I would imagine so.” – Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon when asked whether
Cruz’s groin injury will force him to miss the season finale Sunday.
Cano extended his hitting streak to 15 games, longest current streak in baseball. Cano went 2 for 5 to raise his season batting average to .287, but has no chance ti extend his streak of .300-plus seasons to seven . . . With his inning-ending strikeout in the eighth, Seattle RHP Carson Smith matched Enrique Romo’s team rookie record of 92 strikeouts in a season by a relief pitcher . . . A throwing error by 3B Danny Valencia in Saturday’s first inning was Oakland’s league-high 123rd of the season. One batter later, 1B Mark Canha committed No. 124 when he dropped a throw on the back end of a potential double play. SS Marcus Semien added his AL-high 35th error of the season to give the A’s three errors on the night and 125 on the season.
Remember all that emotion of Game 162 this time last year? Felix Hernandez on the mound with the AL wild card in the balance? That was last season. Sunday, we get Seattle LHP Vidal Nuno (1-4, 4.19 ERA) facing Oakland RHP Chris Bassitt (1-8, 3.60 ERA) in a game that means nothing. Scratch that: it means the disappointing 2015 season is finally, officially, blessedly, over.